Sunday, June 28, 2015

Recuva - freeware to recover deleted photo / video / music / document / email from SD card / hard disk / USB thumb drive / iPod

If you want to recover or undelete your deleted or lost files (photo, video, music, document, email, etc.), you can try a Windows freeware called Recuva by Piriform.

Recuva works on any rewriteable storage media you have, including internal and external harddisk, SD card, USB thumb drive, and even iPod. It is possible to recover from damaged or formatted disks too.

Beside that, it is also able to try to recover your deleted emails from MS Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, or Mozilla Thunderbird.

It can even try to recover unsaved MS Word document after a MS Word crash.

Using Recuva is pretty easy and straightforward. You just need to specify the location of your lost file...

... and then the file type...

... then Recuva will start to do the searching.

It will then list out the recoverable files for you to choose and restore them in a new storage location of your choice.

Beside the free Recuva, there are also paid version including Recuva Profession and Recuva Business Edition which include advanced features and professional technical support from Piriform.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jisan JS-510 51000mAh Li-Polymer slim power bank

There is a Jisan brand 51000mAh high capacity Li-Polymer power bank selling online in some Malaysian e-commerce websites at pretty low price.

It claims to be manufactured in Korea, but when you search the Internet about "Jisan power bank", there is not much info other than the e-commerce webpages. The domain name "" is even inactive. Most if not all the selling websites are based in Malaysia.

The power bank does have a premium metallic look and feel, but its packaging doesn't match the premium feeling. The English on the packaging (both the language and the text content) is not up to standard as well.

It provides 1 year limited warranty, with a Warranty Card inside, but there is no manufacturer detail nor contact, and the Warranty Card is not professionally designed and written. In fact, the warranty is provided by the dealer.

It says its protection circuit module is based on "Yeonhan Technology by Jisan".

All these signs make me suspect that this power bank is actually made in China by a manufacturer related to OEM factory called Yeon Han, and OEM to a Malaysian dealer with the Jisan brand, and possibly nothing to do with Korea.

This power bank is quite long (about 15cm), but not too heavy.

Given its slim design, I believe it uses the single cell 3.7v Li-Polymer flat cell as battery. This kind of battery is the same kind of Li-Po battery commonly used in hand phones and compact cameras nowadays, and is lighter and better design than the Li-Ion 18650 battery pack used in some other power banks.

However, looking at its size and weight, unless it uses a new kind of battery technology which can have extremely high energy density, I doubt its real capacity can be as high as 51000mAh. Its size and weight is more realistic for it to be around 15000mAh instead. I haven't tested on its real capacity yet, hopefully I am wrong and it really can discharge near to 51000mAh from fully charged state. Then it will be really value for money at its price.

Hopefully it has a good protection circuit module as it claimed. I do notice that its temperature doesn't change much during charging, which is a good sign.

After all, I believe this should be a good quality product, although seems to be overly done in marketing propaganda.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My home audio-visual system comprises Samsung 7-series UHD 4K smart TV, 4.2 channels wireless soundstand and Blu-ray disc player

I have just set up a new home audio-visual system comprise of 3 Samsung products:

  • Samsung UA40HU7000R 7-series 40" UHD 4K Flat Smart TV (cost: RM2349)
  • Samsung HW-H600 Wireless Soundstand (cost: RM639)
  • Samsung BD-F5100XM Blu-ray Player (cost: RM179)
Total cost including GST = RM3167

All 3 of them are of last year old model. If I were to buy them when they newly hit the market, I might need to fork out double the cost or more to take them home. This is kind of delayed gratification to get the same thing at lower cost.

I have checked the running hour of the Samsung TV and confirmed that it is new and never been used before.

Also connected to this Samsung TV are my existing devices:
  • Astro B.yond set top box (main source for TV programmes)
  • HiMedia Q5II Android 3D TV box (main source for Internet streaming videos + TV games)
  • UniFi HyppTV set top box (backup source for TV programmes)
I have chosen a 7-series UHD 4K smart TV, although a lower series Full HD TV is cheaper, because besides the UHD 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160, the 7-series also equipped with 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, LAN port, built-in wireless LAN, analog audio out, digital optical audio out, 2 composite input groups, 1 component input groups, and other connectivities which is pretty comprehensive and sufficient.

If I choose a larger 50" screen of the same Samsung 7-series UHD 4K smart TV, I would need to fork out additional RM1200 from my pocket. By choosing the 40" screen model, I can upgrade it with a wireless soundstand and Blue-ray player, yet the combined cost is still cheaper than buying the 50" screen model.

The main reason to go for Samsung LED TV is for its picture quality and vibrant colour display. The UHD 4K screen offers 4 times resolution than the Full HD screen. The TV supports 4-steps UHD up-scaling to convert lower resolution content to a level of clarity that is almost like Ultra High Definition.

This TV is equipped with Clear Motion Rate (CMR) technology of 200 powered by Ultra Clear Panel and quad-core processor.

Being a smart TV, when connected to the Internet either using wired LAN or WiFi, you can access to Samsung Smart Hub and install apps to the TV, browse websites with its built-in browser, and perform firmware update over the Internet.

It also comes with Samsung Smart Remote Control, which can act as a pointer, and also be used as voice input device to issue voice control command to the TV.

There is an IR blaster gadget comes together with this TV. Connecting it to the IR Out port of the TV and place the round blaster in front of my Astro B.yond set top box, I can use the TV remote control to switch the Astro box on/off together with the TV, and can also use the TV remote control to change the Astro channel (instead of using the Astro remote control).

This TV is supposed to support Screen Mirroring from Samsung mobile devices, but I have difficulty in making it works with my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.

This TV also supports the Samsung Smart View 2.0 app for my smart phone to share multimedia content with it, and also act as a remote control. I do find the remote control in this app better than the Samsung Smart Remote Control, as the physical remote control lack of physical numeric keypad and more difficult to directly change to a preferred channel.

The Samsung HW-H600 4.2 Channels Wireless Soundstand greatly enhance the sound quality of the TV, especially when the Surround mode is turned on. It is designed to lay flat and be placed under the TV. This design saves space, and eliminate the clutter of having many speakers in normal Hi-Fi system.

This Samsung HW-H600 is classified as a mid-range Hi-Fi device, so do not expect it to perform the same as those high end Hi-Fi speakers, which costs more than 3 times its price. Its 4.2 channels comprises of 4 bass-reflex speaker drivers and dual built-in subwoofers, which is richer than those 2.1 (stereo + subwoofer) sound bars.

There are many ways it can connect to the TV, including the wireless TV SoundConnect, wired HDMI ARC connect, audio cable connect, etc. I find the audio cable connect is more straightforward and easier to configure.

The Soundstand has a USB port, and can play MP3 music when connected to a USB thumb drive with MP3 files in it.

It also can pair with mobile devices to play MP3 music or receive phone audio output via Bluetooth connection. It comes with an NFC sticker to facilitate easier Bluetooth pairing with smartphone that support NFC.

The Blu-ray disc player completes the audio-visual system by adding ability to play music, video or photo stored in Blu-ray / DVD / VCD / CD disc.

This Samsung BD-F5100XM does not support playing of 3D Blu-ray movie. It supports full HD (1920x1080) and can upscale DVD to this level, but it does not support UHD.

It also comes with a USB port, which function similarly with the USB port in the TV and Soundstand.

It has a LAN port to connect to the Internet, and comes with some apps including Youtube, Facebook, etc. However, I prefer to use the Youtube and Facebook apps in the smart TV, which can be accessed more directly. It does not support WiFi connection.

There is newer Blu-ray player model that support WiFi connection, 3D Blu-ray movie playing, UHD picture quality, etc. The cost will be at least double the price of this Samsung BD-F5100XM.

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Toshiba AW-DC1000CM 9kg washing machine

I have just replaced my Panasonic NA-F90GS 9kg washing machine with a new Toshiba AW-DC1000CM 9kg washing machine.

The main reason to finalize on this Toshiba model is because it has similar footprint with the Panasonic NA-F90GS, and can fit into the same place without any problem. Furthermore, this Toshiba AW-DC1000CM comes with a generous 2+3+13 years of warranty.

The Toshiba AW-DC1000CM features a Direct Drive Inverter Motor and Zero Standby Power technology, which I believe can save more electricity than its predecessor.

It doesn't come with Toshiba's latest Magic Drum innovation, as I can't find any Toshiba DD Inverter washing machine of 9kg capacity with Magic Drum in it, otherwise I will consider getting the one with Magic Drum feature.

For Regular mode washing, this Toshiba AW-DC1000CM washing machine operates similar with the Panasonic NA-F90GS, but much more quieter.

On top of the Zero Standby Power, this Toshiba AW-DC1000CM has some other features that are not found in the Panasonic NA-F90GS, including lid lock and child proof safety, tub clean, quick shirt wash, etc.

It lacks the small water filter, which is a special feature in the Panasonic NA-F90GS. However, my Bacfree ER-19 rocket-style outdoor water filter works pretty well, so the small water filter in washing machine is not a necessity.

My Panasonic NA-F90GS is still working fine, and will be moved to my apartment to continue its service.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Panasonic NR-BW465XS 2-doors fridge

I have just replaced my Toshiba GRH-47MTV 3-doors (470 litres) refrigerator with a new Panasonic NR-BW465XS 2-doors (450 litres) refrigerator.

The main reason to finalize on this Panasonic model is because it has similar footprint with the Toshiba GRH-47MTV, and can fit into the same place without any problem.

Although the gross capacity of this Panasonic fridge is smaller than its predecessor, its net storage capacity  of 400 litres is in fact slightly larger than the 395 litres of the Toshiba fridge.

This Panasonic NR-BW465XS refrigerator is of energy saving type with inverter technology, U-Vacua vacuum insulation, and ECO NAVI sensors. It has a 5-star energy efficiency rating.

Its freezer has a star rating of 4, which means it can freeze fresh food and store frozen food for 3 to 12 months.

The design of this fridge is also "inverted" when compared with most other fridges. Its drawer-type freezer compartment is at the bottom. Its height-adjustable shelves are located on top of the refrigerator compartment, followed by a 47 litres vegetable case, then its chilled case.

However, the design of its door shelves is "normal", with 2 egg shelves on top, and then 2 bottle shelves at the bottom.

It has a Quick Freezing button on its door panel, which function is pretty well self-explained. Once pressed, it fridge will go into Quick Freezing mode for 150 minutes before returning to normal mode. Quick Freezing can be cancelled by pressing the same button again.

It has Ag+ anti-bacterial feature, which is quite common in modern refrigerators nowadays. Beside that, it also has deodorizing function, and it utilizes blue and green LED lights for fruits and vegetables to maintain vitamin C contents. The vegetable case stores the fruits and vegetables in high humidity of about 91.5% and constant temperature to keep them fresh and remain juicy.

When this fridge operates to cool down its compartments, you can hear some noise when you are near to it. The noise will reduce after it stabilized for a while.

The only drawback of this Panasonic NR-BW465XS refrigerator is that, its vegetable case is smaller than the vegetable compartment of Toshiba GRH-47MTV. Other than this, I would see it as an upgrade to the Toshiba GRH-47MTV in all aspects.

My Toshiba GRH-47MTV is still working fine, and will be moved to my apartment to continue its service.

How many hours to wait before power on a refrigerator after moving it

If you bought a new refrigerator which will be delivered from the shop/warehouse, travelling on a lorry/van to your house, unloaded and placed at your desired location, you will most likely be advised to only turn it on after a couple of hours.

The timeframe of such advice can vary from 30 minutes to as long as 24 hours.

This waiting period also applies when you move your fridge from one location to another, be it within your house, or from your house to another house.

I have done quite an extensive Internet searching regarding this power on waiting period for refrigerator after moving, and believe that the following information is pretty reliable.

The waiting period is for the oil that lubricates the cylinders in the compressor of the refrigerator to settle down to where it should reside, with the help of the gravity.

You will need a shorter period (as short as 5 minutes) of waiting time if the refrigerator is always in upright position when being moved.

If you tilted the refrigerator for less than 30 degree, there will be chances for the oil to spill over into the tubes behind the refrigerator. This kind of tilting is common when it is loaded and unloaded from a lorry/van. It is better for you to wait for 1 hour to let the oil in the tube to gradually move back to where it supposes to be.

If the tilting is more than 30 degree, or the refrigerator has been laid down horizontally, it is better for you to wait for 4 hours or more.

If the refrigerator has been put in upside down position (which shouldn't be in common sense), then you will need to wait for 24 hours or more.

If you are unsure, just wait for at least 4 hours before power it on after it has settled down in its new place.

What are the dangers of turning on the refrigerator immediately or with too short waiting period?

  • The motor might subject to damage due to lack of lubrication.
  • The oil might clog in the tube, causing malfunction to the refrigerator.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Converting Samsung BD-F5100 Blu-ray & DVD player to become region free (unlocked)

Most genuine DVD and Blu-ray movie discs carry a region code, and the movie can only be played in a Blu-ray and/or DVD player with firmware having the same region code with the disc.

Depends on the manufacturer of the Blu-ray / DVD player, certain players don't implement the region code checking and restriction, and can play the dics from all region. Certain other branded players, particularly Samsung, Sony, etc. impose the region code restriction.

For DVD, the region code is assigned as follow:

  • 0 = Playable in all regions
  • 1 = North America, Hawaii and Bermuda
  • 2 = Middle East, Western Europe, Central Europe, Egypt, French overseas territories, Greenland, Japan, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland
  • 3 = Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan 
  • 4 = Australia, New Zealand, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Oceania, South America
  • 5 = The rest of Africa, Former Soviet Union, the Indian subcontinent, Mongolia, North Korea
  • 6 = Mainland China
For Blu-ray, the region code is assigned as follow:
  • A = East Asia (except Mainland China and Mongolia), Southeast Asia, North America, South America and their dependencies
  • B = Africa, Southwest Asia, Europe (except Russia and Kazakhstan), Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand) and their dependencies
  • C = Central Asia, East Asia (Mainland China and Mongolia only), South Asia, central Eurasia and their dependencies
The problem with this region code is that, if you are staying in Southeast Asia and want to play a Hollywood DVD movie in genuine discs, the movie might not play due to this region code restriction. This actually encourages people to look for pirated copy or to download the DVD ripped copy from the Internet.

Anyhow, there are methods to hack certain Bly-ray and/or DVD players by hardware chip modification, or just by unlocking the region restriction using the remote control.

I have a Samsung BD-F5100 Blu-ray & DVD player shipped with the latest firmware version 1019.0. Its region code for DVD and Blu-ray is stated on the label stuck behind the unit.

The steps to unlock this Samsung BD-F5100 Blu-ray & DVD player to make it region free and enabling it to play DVD from all the regions are as below.

Step 1: Take out any disc in the player, and power off the unit.

Step 2: Switch it on. Wait until the Main Menu of the player appears on the TV screen.

Step 3: Press the REPEAT button (the black button under the yellow "C") on its remote control.

Step 4: Use the keypad on remote control to punch in the following 5 digits, depends on the DVD region code stated in the label (the DVD region code in the picture above is "3").

For Region 1: 2 9 3 3 4
For Region 2: 5 7 5 3 8
For Region 3: 5 6 7 3 2
For Region 4: 7 6 8 8 4
For Region 5: 5 3 8 1 4 
For Region 6: 2 4 4 6 2

Step 5: Once you punched in the above 5-digit codes, you will see your current region code shown up on the top left corner in your TV screen. Before this region code disappears, quickly punch in "9" with your remote control.

Step 6: The number on the TV screen will change to "9". Wait for it to disappear.

Step 7: Power off the player.

Your BD-F5100 player should be unlocked to region free by now. Repeat Step 1 to Step 4 above, you will be able to see your region code has changed to "0".

Test it with a DVD disc from different region. The movie should be able to play in your player now.

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